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How to Prune a Bamboo Palm

By Kelsey Erin Shipman ; Updated September 21, 2017

Bamboo palms are popular indoor plants that do well in light shade. They have slender trunks and full, dark green leaves. Bamboo palms are cold hardy plants that can survive freezing temperatures outdoors. A smaller palm, bamboo palms usually reach about 7 feet in height. The proper pruning of a bamboo palm can extend the life of the plant and ensure healthy grow. When pruning, it is crucial to take care of the bark and avoid exposing the underlying layers.

Fertilize one week before pruning. This will encourage immediate growth at the pruning cut and protect the plant from any associated shock.

Determine the size of shears necessary. This will be determined by the size and age of your bamboo palm. For most plants, hand shears or sharp scissors will work. But be careful--using the wrong size of shears can mean uneven cuts, damaged bark and potential accidents.

Use sharp, clean pruning shears. Dull blades make uneven cuts and are most likely to tear the bark while dirty blades can spread disease. Sharpen your pruning shears before each use and clean with boiling water afterward.

Shape into a tree. On the lower half of the plant, cut new shoots at the base of the stem in order to maintain old growth and focus the palm’s energy on upper branches. For a fuller appearance, allow lower branches to grow and thin foliage occasionally.

Remove dead or dying fronds. Cleanly cut off yellow or brown fronds at the base of the stem.

Prune fronds that protrude into walkways or furniture. Use your shears to cut off any fronds that are in the way of daily activities. Removing a continually battered leaf is healthier for the plant than daily stress.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Pruning shears or scissors
  • Boiling water
  • Fertilizer

Tips

  • Prune lower leaves just before winter. This will allow the plant to focus its limited energy on fewer fronds.
  • Regularly turn your indoor palm so that all sides receive equal light. This will help keep the leaf growth balanced and lessen the need for pruning.

Warning

  • Over-pruning can be deadly to an indoor palm tree. Always err on the side of caution.